Mettenberger sentenced to probation
Former Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who was dismissed from the team by Bulldogs coach Mark Richt last month, pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery Monday.
In an e-mail to ESPN.com, Lowndes County (Ga.) District Attorney J. David Miller said Mettenberger was sentenced to two concurrent 12-month periods of probation under the state's first-offender act. Miller said Mettenberger also was ordered to pay $2,000 in fines and perform 40 hours of community service, was banished from the city of Valdosta and is to have no contact with the victim.
Miller said the sexual battery counts were the result of Mettenberger grabbing the breasts and touching the buttocks of a woman at a bar in Remerton, Ga., on March 7.
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Miller said misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct, obstruction, providing false ID and underage possession of alcohol against Mettenberger were dismissed.
Mettenberger, a redshirt freshman from Watkinsville, Ga., was battling Aaron Murray for Georgia's starting quarterback job during spring practice.
One of the more highly recruited quarterbacks as a senior at Oconee County (Ga.) High School in 2008, Mettenberger is expected to visit Cincinnati and Louisville later this month, according to people close to the situation. After sitting out one season under NCAA transfer rules, Mettenberger would have three years of NCAA eligibility remaining.
Mettenberger's dismissal leaves the Bulldogs with only two scholarship quarterbacks for this coming season: Murray and junior Logan Gray. But Gray, who played in 12 games last season as a backup to departed starter Joe Cox, is considering transferring to another school after he was named Murray's backup in a post-spring depth chart.
Gray, who attempted 12 passes last season, met with Richt last week. Gray might move to wide receiver this coming season or transfer to another school. Freshman Hutson Mason, from Lassiter High School in Marietta, Ga., will join the competition this fall.
In a statement released by Mettenberger's attorney, Zachary Cowart, the former Georgia quarterback wrote:
"Today I took full responsibility for my actions and entered a plea to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery for the incident that occurred in Remerton, Georgia on March 7. I first want to apologize to the young lady my actions most directly affected and I hope that by me accepting responsibility for my actions that she can move on with her life.
"I would also like to apologize to my family, friends, teammates, the coaching staff, and the University of Georgia. Though it was very uncharacteristic of me to act the way I did I still accept full responsibility for this event. I deeply regret my actions of that night and can assure that these actions will never happen again. I intend to do everything in my power to restore my image and rebuild the trust people had in me before."
Mark Schlabach covers college football and college basketball for ESPN.com.
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